To Your Health
January, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 01)
Easy Energy Boosters
By Editorial Staff
It's just past lunch, the turkey and Swiss on rye is settling in, and you know you have hours to go before you can stop pretending you're working. You're contemplating laying your head on your desk to catch some ZZZs. You need a pick-me-up and you need it fast, especially since you more than likely nixed that healthy sandwich you brought from home and went to the burger joint down the street for lunch.
Before you reach for one of the many sugar-loaded "energy" drinks that will inevitably send you "crashing" down, try an all-natural approach to boosting your energy. Here are a few simple and natural ways to raise your energy level during an afternoon slump.
Take a brisk walk. It's hard to beat this blood-pumping, endorphin-flowing exercise when looking for an easy all-natural energy boost. Taking a walk outside not only causes your body to produce endorphins for a natural high, but it also allows your skin to soak in vitamin D from the sun's rays. This essential vitamin is associated with maintaining healthy bones, kidneys and immune system. (For more information on the benefits of vitamin D, click here.)
Drink plenty of water. According to MayoClinic.com, even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. It makes sense, since nearly all of the major systems in your body depend on water including body temperature regulation and cell absorption of nutrients and oxygen. It is recommended to drink half your body weight in ounces of water to maintain hydration and replace fluid lost through urine, sweating and bowel movements. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you need to consume 75 oz. of water in a day. That means if you weigh more than 128 lbs., you should be consuming more than the standard eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. Water also flushes out harmful toxins and can help facilitate weight loss.
Take a breather. If you've ever been told to take a deep breath, it's probably been during a stressful time: a hard workout, an argument or, for women, labor. Not only do these deep breaths help you to calm down but, ironically enough, they also provide a natural energy lift. When we are stressed or tired we take short, shallow breaths, which directly affects our energy level by slowing oxygen flow to our brain and other organs. Try this: Inhale through your nose (filling your lungs to capacity) and hold for three seconds. Then exhale slowly until all air has left your lungs. Repeat and revive.
Get up and stretch. If you're like most Americans, you probably have a job that requires spending the majority of your time at your desk. Much like taking a walk, stretching facilitates healthy blood flow. Circulation is a key factor in your body's energy level. Try standing at your desk (or other appropriate place, depending on your work environment). While placing your left hand on your desk for support, lift your right foot up to your glute and hold at the ankle with your right knee pointed straight down. With your left knee slightly bent, flex your right glute and feel the stretch. Switch legs and repeat steps.
So, the next time you're at work daydreaming about curling up on your couch instead of working, try these simple suggestions to boost your energy. Your body will thank you for it.